Office 365 is a subscription-based line of software and cloud services launched by Microsoft in 2010 that includes the traditional Office software suite (like Word, and Excel) along with a variety of additional applications. Since its launch, Microsoft has continually improved both the number of services included and their quality. Today, Office 365 offers much more functionality than merely providing you with the latest productivity apps; it includes communication platforms, file management, and business automation.
Of course, the core applications of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote are what come to mind when everyone thinks of Microsoft Office. However, it’s important to understand that there’s more to these applications than the older ones that came in a cellophane wrapped box. Office 365 applications are always updated to the latest version, they’re accessible everywhere and on everything. All of the core applications have a desktop version for both PC and Mac, mobile versions for iOS and Android, and a web version that operates in any modern browser.
With Skype For Business, Teams and Yammer, Office 365 helps to tackle both external and internal communications challenges. Teams and Yammer bring social media technologies into workplace conversations. You can chat with colleagues, share files and have public discussions within your organization.
Teams and Skype For Business provide video and voice calling and screen sharing with multiple attendees. Teams is oriented towards internal communication while Skype For Business is for external use. These can be accessed on a computer, tablet or mobile phone. Video conferencing equipment can be connected into both products for even greater communication abilities.
Desk phones can also be integrated with Office 365 using the Phone System in add-on, which gives you PBX capabilities, but without the complicated and expensive equipment. (A PBX is a phone system within business.) With the Phone System add-on, you can use Skype for Business to complete basic tasks such as making and receiving calls, transferring calls, and muting or unmuting calls, from nearly anywhere with Internet access. It's available worldwide!
OneDrive and SharePoint, provide a platform to organize and share all your personal business documents and your organization’s documents. SharePoint creates sites where information can be disseminated to your entire organization while OneDrive is a place to store personal documents. Both SharePoint and OneDrive provide version control, the ability to sync to multiple devices and sharing with others both in your organization and worldwide. All the while, the files are safely stored in the Cloud, and accessible from virtually anywhere and on any device – so say “goodbye” to that server shared drive that you can’t access remotely.
The best part of all the Office 365 tools is their tight integration with one another. In Teams you can share a file on OneDrive right inside a chat. Multiple people can open a document on SharePoint, and edit it simultaneously. With the click of a button, a standard Outlook event can be turned into a Skype For Business meeting.
Office 365 also includes a service called Flow that allows you to create custom, programmable events to completely customize your workflow. For example, you can set up a Flow that automatically copies an email attachment to your OneDrive, get an alert every time an RSS feed is updated on a blog you follow or even track Facebook messages in an Excel table. There are thousands of combinations of events that can be created from services all over the Internet.
Bring it all together with Advantage Technology
Taken all together, Office 365 is an incredible service for boosting business productivity. Not only will your organization be working with familiar tools, but they’ll also be able to communicate better, manage information better and automate repetitive tasks. All of this is available for a low monthly fee, it is accessible anywhere and stored safely in the Cloud.
As a Microsoft Partner, Advantage Technology can advise you in selecting the best licensing package for your business. We provide this guidance to you while maintaining costs competitive to buying direct. We will also help you deploy and manage Office 365. Contact us today to get started boosting your productivity with Office 365.